Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Anger Rising ...

When I say that I think the invasion of Iraq is endangering our freedoms more than protecting them, this is exactly the sort of incident that, if true, I believe is going to breed new, highly motivated recruits for terrorist organizations who put American civilians in the crosshairs. It may not have happened, the circumstances may have been totally different than what was described ... but, if our guys are have already started, or are going to end up, killing Iraqi citizens for protesting the occupation of their country, I don't doubt for a second that Americans are going to pay for it in blood (and with our freedoms as our government rolls out more invasive versions of the Patriot Act).

And, you over there calling in to talk radio put down leftists and people who opposed the war, the next time you feel the urge to beat your chest and hang a sign that says Support Our Troops, consider this excerpt and ask yourself if it's really that simple, if you do indeed really do support all the brave men and women serving our country:
One young man said he was desperate for financial aid to care for his wife and child while struggling to complete college studies and work full time. He felt he could gain some respect in this world and also help his family by joining the Marines. He's relieved that he was stationed at the rear of a line coming up from the south. His role was to guard prisoners. He didn't shoot anyone. But he saw U.S. soldiers shoot at a civilian car with three passengers as it approached. The child in the car survived – both of his parents were immediately killed. "They could have shot the tires," said the soldier. "Some just want to kill." [source article]
And remember to question the next neo-con who writes or says something to the effect of 'they hate us because we're free,' have them explain to you how they figure kids whose parents are murdered under those circumstances, or while protesting the occupation of their country, will grow up to hate us because of our freedoms.

Support Our Troops.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Class Warfare

Wouldn't it be a better world if your job didn't have to pay you overtime for working more than 40 hours a week? Thank God the Republicans are on the case. We'll be back to 19th c. working conditions in no time [via Sparker]. Woo-hoo!!

I'm all for flexibility and, where feasible, giving people the choice between working for OT pay or comp time; however, when the company gets to tell you to work OT without time and half pay, then can tell you when you get to take your comp time ... well, eventually working people were going to connect the dots and realize the GOP despises them.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Yo La Tengo, Lupo's 4/24/03

Great show. Ira still (it's been a few years since I've seen them play live) goes nuts on the guitar. Highlights included Portastatic coming back out to join them for an extended "Nuclear War" jam and a seriously wicked build it up and tear it down "Blue Line Swinger". Ira, man, that guy rips up a song -- plays it upside-down and inside-out, filling up the empty space with noise, playing just about everything except the note so that when he actually plays the note it's like that last drop of phenol red hitting the supersaturated solution in 9th grade chemistry class and you're just like, oh man, that was so effin' cool. Or, as Tif gushed, "I loved it ... except when he had his little fits on the guitar." So I guess you can go either way with it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Roots of Anti-Americanism

There seems to be a widespread belief amongst neo-cons that anti-Americanism is based on jealousy of our freedom and prosperity. They hate us because we're free. They hate us because we have what they don't. How convenient. How convenient that they just assume our sainthood among nations and assume people have anti-American views for irrational reasons. America would never dirty it's hands to support its interests! Realpolitik is amoral and we have always done business in an above the board, moral fashion. Let's don't look at how we deal and have dealt with specific peoples and nations, let's don't think there may be a rational reason why somebody doesn't like the U.S., just chalk it up to jealousy. If we propped up a repressive dictator who brutalized his people, then the people who endured that brutalization must not love us because ... we can afford to sit around and watch lots of reality TV. Where's the logic in "they hate us because we're free?" Do people really suppose that other people love being repressed and brutalized and hate us because we don't? Do you think it makes sense for poor and oppressed people to blame the free for their misery and not their oppressors? Do certain Americans now hate the French because they have a lower infant mortality rate than we do? Damn those Frenchies and their superior prenatal care! Of course not. A vocal, and stupid, segment of our population thinks the French are not supporting our interests, that they may ... gasp ... have their own interests, and so they are anti-French. It all comes down to protecting our interests. That's what it comes down to for everyone everywhere -- people are against the other people whose interests conflict with their own. Nobody hates us because we're free and prosperous. The only reason anybody would believe that, or tell somebody else to believe something so clearly counterintuitive and illogical, is to justify a "see no evil" brand of smug superiority that they know in their heart doesn't bear scrutiny.

NewsFlash! [via Robot Wisdom]

A Middle Eastern state, already shown to be hostile to it's neighbors and known to practice torture, has Weapons of Mass Destruction! Locations of weapons facilities known with high degree of certainty. (Not like in Iraq, where claims of WMDs turn out to be smoke and mirrors, as even patriotic organs like Time are starting to notice.) Cry "Havoc" and let slip the dogs of war!

Monday, April 21, 2003

I'm Getting the Creeps

From Maureen Dowd's Op-Ed column at the NYT:
Franklin Graham, the Christian evangelist who has branded Islam a "very wicked and evil" religion, was the honored speaker at the Pentagon's Good Friday service.

After Kenna West, a Christian singer, crooned, "There is one God and one faith," Mr. Graham told an auditorium of soldiers in camouflage, civilian staffers and his son, a West Point cadet: "There's no other way to God except through Christ. . . . Jesus Christ is alive because he is risen, and friends, he's coming back, and I believe he's coming back soon."

When Muslim groups complained that the Pentagon was "endorsing" his attacks on Islam, Mr. Graham asked for a photo op with Muslim Pentagon employees. They declined.
Could we try and keep church and state a little more separate? Please? Seriously ... it's spooky [via Ethel].

Fruit of the Poisoned Tree

Law and Order writers take note, "fruit of the poisoned tree" dilemma may soon no longer be viable as a handy device to advance plotlines ...

Monday, April 14, 2003

Chimp Longevity

Cheeta Lives

Good news found via robot wisdom. Another good link there to some pics of Cheeta then and now. Weissmuller, of course, is long dead; however, I was surprised to learn he had a long post-Tarzan career playing a character named Jungle Jim.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003


Our third blogday (bloggiversary?) passed unnoticed on March, 28th. Happy Belated 3rd Blogday, Cryptonauts! To celebrate, I plan to play a 3-2-8 trifecta next trip jai-alai. You may do as you please.

Bet You Can Find A Unique Ring-Tone Here

April Winchell's Multimedia page has lots of great mp3's: TV stars who insist on singing, ABBA covers in Hindi, chicken songs, terrifying Christian recordings, and more more more! Via The Presurfer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2003

Kennedy Replies

[Form response received to an email I sent Patrick Kennedy]

Thank you for your thoughtful correspondence regarding the war in Iraq. There is no greater responsibility for a Member of Congress than voting to initiate war and it was with much deliberation that I arrived at this conclusion. I did not come to my decision easily and I appreciate you taking the time to write to me with your concerns.
I always have been in support of a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Iraq situation and the strengthening of international protocols designed to prevent further proliferation of weapons of mass destruction among all nations. Unfortunately, in Iraq, a diplomatic solution has proven to be illusory due to Saddam Hussein's continued unwillingness to destroy weapons as called for under the United Nations directives after the 1991 Gulf War. As U.N. Arms Inspector Hans Blix reported, Iraq still would not fully cooperate with inspectors during renewed searches in recent months, even with thousands of American and British troops waiting in Kuwait to add pressure to his government. The possibility of Hussein's government disarming without the presence of those troops would have been zero, and a repeat of inspectors withdrawing from the country because of a lack of cooperation from the Iraqi government, as they did in 1998, was highly probable.
Underscoring the dangers of allowing a dictator like Saddam Hussein to attempt to construct a nuclear program is the current crisis in North Korea. The very fact that North Korea is able to essentially dictate its demands to many in the world community, because it possesses deliverable nuclear weapons, underscores the dangers of allowing unstable and/or aggressive nations to obtain these weapons. Now that the conflict has begun, we need to support the troops that we've asked to undertake this dangerous task. After decades of brutality and repression, Hussein's government certainly won't go away quietly, but the U.S. and U.K. armed forces have the professionalism and military strength that we need. The unprecedented level of technology brought to bear in this conflict has presented the world community with a virtual tidal wave of information and images. We're reminded daily what kinds of sacrifices and suffering war entails. This should emphasize the staggering commitment our troops are making in this effort. 
Military operations aside, there are concerns about diplomacy efforts by the Administration. While military action may not reflect the absolute need for a broad international coalition of nations, the inevitable trillions of dollars that will need to be spent rebuilding Iraq into a Middle East democracy certainly does. As frustrating as the pace with which international diplomacy works can be, that frustration is nothing compared to the overwhelming needs that the people of Iraq are going to have after military operations in that nation cease. The U.N. is capable of undertaking such a massive effort, and I feel that U.S. engagement with the U.N. is absolutely crucial to securing the peace after the war is over.
One of the first orders of business must be the repatriation of refugees who have been displaced by the conflict. Rapid rebuilding of water infrastructure and food distribution networks are also key as is the importance of building a stable government. First and foremost will be both the introduction of peacekeeping forces to prevent large scale hostilities from surfacing between the many rival ethnicities and international police forces. The U.N. and its many affiliated Non-Governmental Organizations with vast experience in this area must be utilized.
War should always be a last option. In this case, Saddam Hussein's willingness to flout U.N. Security Council disarmament directives, even in the face of a massive military build-up to force that disarmament, demonstrated the futility of further pursuit of diplomatic channels to defuse this situation. We now all hope for a quick end to the conflict and Saddam Hussein's regime.
Again, I thank you for your correspondence. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you on this important issue.
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